This book presents a collection of essays honoring Professor Harry Heft, a leading figure in the field of ecological psychology, engaging critically with his work, thought and influence.

Containing 12 chapters written by leading experts from philosophy and psychology, this text critically examines, questions, and expands on crucial ideas from Heft concerning the nature of cognition, its relationship to the body and the environment (including the social and cultural environment), and the main philosophical assumptions underlying the scientific study of psychological functions. It elaborates on the notion of affordance, and its connection to social, cultural and developmental psychology, as well as on the application of Roger Barker’s eco-behavioral program for current psychology and cognitive science. The book includes an extensive interview with Heft, where he reflects about the history, challenges and future of ecological psychology. Finally, it presents a chapter written by Heft, that offers a systematic response to the critical feedback.

Given the increasing popularity of ecological psychology and the highly influential work of Harry Heft in related areas such as developmental, social and cultural psychology, and philosophy, this book will appeal to all those interested in the cognitive sciences from a scientific and philosophical perspective. It is also a must read for students of psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science departments.


1. Reflections on Ecological Psychology: An interview with Harry Heft

2. The social constitution of ecological psychology in the Netherlands

3. Contrary imaginations: Radical Empiricism or Pragmatism?

4. Perception and problem solving

5. Conceiving the environment from a developmental perspective: Revisiting Roger G. Barker’s comparison of Bobby Bryant and Raymond Birch

6. Agency in behavior settings: A mindshaping perspective on ecological psychology

7. Behavior settings, enabling constraints, and the naturalization of social norms

8. Values, affordances, and agency: Giving Heft to ecological accounts

9. Young people’s responses to the Earth’s affordances of regeneration

10. Humanizing Ecological Psychology: Heft’s incorporation of the sociohistorical into perceiving and acting

11. Understanding the child’s environment

12. Towards a psychological ecology